Live Chat Benchmark Report 2019

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Live Chat Benchmark Report 2019

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Chapter 2

Wait Time

48 seconds average wait time

Up 11 seconds over 2017

Average wait time increased from 37 to 48 seconds in 2018 – breaking a downward trend. However, this increase is not necessarily a negative signal.

Last year we suggested that ‘a fast response does not equal a quality response’ and this still holds true for 2018: organizations that scored 90% or higher for customer satisfaction had an average wait time of 46 seconds while customers with the lowest customer satisfaction had an average wait time of 25 seconds.

Wait Time VS Queue Length by Team Size

Wait time refers to how long a visitor is waiting for an agent to pick up their chat while queue length is how many people are queued when all agents are busy.

When segmented by team size, our findings show that teams with 26 to 50 agents have the longest average wait time, while teams with more than 50 agents have the shortest. We can also see that teams with more than 50 agents have the same queue size as teams with 26 to 50 agents yet boast shorter wait times. Based on this data, we can opine that the largest contact center teams have truly mastered the science of matching team size to audience size, something the next tier down needs to address.

Regardless of size, organizations need to make sure they are focusing on the right metrics, emphasizing quality metrics over time and productivity metrics.

For the past five years, ICMI research has shown a steady increase in the complexity of customer interactions. While many brands are trying to cut costs, or rely more on automation, the contacts frontline agents are handling aren’t as straightforward as they used to be. Pair this reality with disjointed systems and a lack of up-to-date internal knowledge, and you’ve got a recipe for higher handle times, which translates to longer wait times for customers. So while I’m not surprised to see that customer service wait times are on the rise, I am concerned. Organizations have to figure out a way to serve customers more efficiently - whether that means offering more robust self-service, ramping up live chat, arming agents with better resources, staffing up, or some combination of all of the above. In his book Call Center Management on Fast Forward, Brad Cleveland identifies ten critical expectations of the modern customer. Number four? “Do what I ask promptly.” Brands that can’t meet that expectation will struggle to keep their customers loyal and satisfied.

Erica Marois
Content Manager, ICMI